My legs quit - burned out?

And spinning for an hour, even easy, earns me extra snacks for the rest of the day!


What are your goals? Are you training for something? Looking to get faster on the bike? Or, just want to go have fun and ride?

There’s no wrong answer, you have to decide what you want out of training first though.

When the legs are feeling good, it’s easy to put yourself in a hole by going deep. That’s fine(and often desirable) if you have some recovery planned after, but otherwise you are often better off keeping the lid on. Don’t let your ego disrupt your training, there is no real glory in winning a group ride. Do your talking on the race course.


Hard no on the a day off on the couch.

After a hard workout, legs up, and a nap (if you can schedule it.) So yes in this circumstance.

Recovery day, a easy gentle spin a bit of blood flow to aid recovery then relax.

As other athletes here mentioned already, it sounds like you just need some good ol’ rest & relaxation.

Take it nice and easy during your recovery week. Sounds like that big ride you did with your cycling buddies was a tough one! Seems well worth it at the end of a block, though – those rides are some of the most fun you can have on the bike!

Just as you said in your original post, it doesn’t sound like this is a pattern or something recurring over and over, so it doesn’t sound like burnout to me. I’d agree with others that you’re most likely just pretty tired/fatigued from the previous block of training that got capped off with a harder/longer ride than you usually do.

Eat well, sleep well, and prioritize recovering this week – that should get you back on track!


Sudden onset safe mode sounds more like bonking than burn out.


I really appreciate your posts on this thread. Taking it easy is difficult (for some strange reason) but these concepts resonate.



You did a really hard ride that you’re not really conditioned for and your body is recovering from it. You took one day off, then did a relatively long (for you) ride the next day and your body isn’t recovered.

Not “burnout”. It’s acute fatigue.


:+1: when that happens to me, its almost always repeatedly going way above threshold (training or racing). And my legs are dead for a week.

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There’s aspects of staying active during recovery that is not often mentioned and that’s the half life of the mitochondria. Frequent training mitigate a decline in the amount of mitochondria. As always it is a balance of rest and fatigue.

Exercising the mitochondria

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There are times when a full day off the bike is better and there are times when active recovery is better. It depends on the level of fatigue, upcoming workload, where you are in your training program, fitness level, etc.

For me personally, I find complete days off more beneficial earlier in the season. As I gain fitness, I tend to do more active recovery days (but still have some completely off days).

As always - “it depends”


Ever finished a hard ride and gone from an effort to just sitting around or driving home. Had the legs seize up when you get home. That’s what on the couch type recovery can do. Now here I’m referring to skipping a cool down. But you can consider active recovery as a cool down for your recent hard sessions.


+1. I prefer a light spin over a day off most of the time. Working inside with a lot of desk time so the movement helps without a lot of physical or mental strain. Prefer outside for recovery but easy to over do it. Going that easy is boring on a trainer, even with a TV show, though it does keep you in check from going too hard.

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Great point

Epilog. It took me 3 days of total rest to recover, somehow…would be better if I took another or two more. Third, final week of speciality should have been followed exactly as TRR plan suggested: with a complete week at very low intensity and duration, but lust for bike, combined with good weather and a lot of free time made me think…well opposite from thinking. Did a 2h, unstructured - mostly threshold ride 3 days ago and another 1,5h Vo2max-ish ride yesterday. Both unstructured. After that, 28th day for new AI ftp detection passed. It measured my ftp equalized to my second best of all time. Taking into consideration I had no proper base this winter(or any before), the result is better than what I anticipated. I take this result with a grain of salt.
This winter’s plan is finished. I’ve been here before and I haven’t had the mental power to do another plan immediately after, so I just rode the bike unstructured…lost quite some power in the following months. I don’t want to repeat that “rookie mistake” (as someone once wrote to me here before and I was insulted). But managed to reach my ftp all time high back than in the fall - without structure.
Another block of structured base, build and speciality seems mentally impossible at the moment. I wonder what others do, after finishing a plan. Jumping to a new one would seem most useful…but that comes to me like doing scales and arpeggios in music non stop, without trying to actually play music…which can impact the motivation a lot…although it yields some of the best results.

The shutdown of legs was so abrupt and complete that it surprised me totally
Anyhow, first world problem solved.
Thank you beautiful community :pray:


How did your legs feel after those rides? Do you feel like you’d be physically capable of a “productive”-level interval workout? Not suggesting you should, I’m just trying to gauge where you’re at.

Since you mentioned strength training, it can be really valuable, & if you’re feeling like you need a change then it might be the ticket so that you can come back mentally fresher & physically stronger.

I too just finished the last block on my plan & I don’t have anything on the calendar besides what I add myself. Taking a month off at the end of this week, heading interstate to visit friends & family near where I used to live. Going to hit up my old stomping grounds to do a little bit of unstructured riding on old commutes & training routes & also noodling about in double-figure watts, there could be an audax lurking in there too if the weather is kind, & by the way this is a driving trip & I have cyclist friends on the way too so there’ll be some exploring, a few social rides, some of them likely spirited. Call it “pleasure riding”, which is really important for just enjoying the bike, or enjoying it again, if the structured training made cycling feel stale, & it can; this phenomenon has been known for half a century. But for maintenance I intend to do every week one structured sweetspot (~1½h) or threshold (1h) workout, & one endurance ride (2-3h) which also fairly strictly adheres to power targets, so that I can come back & pick up where I left off. For context I’ve been riding about 10h/w: 4h structured intervals, 4h endurance with specific targets, & 2h unstructured group riding: from social to hammerfest, all of which are subject to variation. I feel like I’m still a fair way off burning out, so I can mentally afford to keep up with a little dose of structure, but I won’t let it get in the way of getting to all the places that I want to on this trip.

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I’m always boggled people have the urge and motivation for this. When I get to a rest week I’m feeling blessed mercy of relief to be able to noodle for a bit.


If they did 2 hours of mostly Threshold followed by 1.5 hours of mostly VO2, it sounds like their FTP is set pretty low. I found out I was always begging for recovery weeks because my FTP was usually set too high and I wasn’t smart enough to make adjustments to the plan as needed. It really makes a huge difference.


The concept of getting the recovery, maybe doing some easy spins, and realizing the gains is lost on some people.


@G650 recovery week was the one before, when my legs quit, so i took 3 days completely off, proceeded with one a bit longer ride at 78% intensity (yes, grey km’s i know) and then after another day off by another shorter ride at 84% intensity. One thing that might be taken in consideration is, being on a low volume plan perhaps doesn’t take so much to recover, like middle volume or high volume do…? I try to follow everything, but leave a bit of space for improvisation, which is dictated by schedules and weather.

@roleypup My legs felt “normally” tired after both latest rides…that is, enough to take the following day off. Nothing unusual for that kind of ride for me.
Both rides were unstructured, spirited by being in company of a person I enjoy road cycling the most…pleasure rides…the ones that thrill me the most, the ones that motivate me to bury myself in these relentless winter weeks and months of mostly inside structure.

Took a look at what productive Vo2max wko for me tomorrow would be and I think I’d be able to finish it with new ftp; (Cramer; 4x5-minute repeats at 105-108% FTP separated by 5-minute recovery valleys). There are many iconic road bike trips in my country and havent done almost any of them…I think that is what I will be aiming towards in next few months + start riding enduro mtb again in surrounding woods which goes nicely along with strength training.

@Pbase Absolutely true! In fact, TRR ftp detection tool baceme available several hours after yesterday’s ride and it resulted in 5w (2.1%) higher ftp…

@MikeMunson just returned from an easy coffee spin to town and back (30min) and wouldn’t mind riding some more…weather is about to deteriorate severely any moment now and it appears it might stay miserable for at least a week, so the concept of another (this time forced) recovery will be imposed by weather if nothing else.

Thank you all!